London – A recent decision by North Yorkshire County Council to allow fracking to be restarted in the UK could help revive the country’s chemical industry, according to the Chemical Industry Association.
CIA chief executive Steve Elliott said the County Council had shown leadership to the rest of the country in their assessment of evidence and submissions regarding the safety of the process - the underground extraction of shale gas by hydraulic-fracturing.
According to Elliot, it is important to continue dialogue with local communities and opponents of fracking. The industry, he said, should present the benefits that shale gas can bring to local communities and the UK, while reassuring the public over safety, health and environmental standards.
"The extraction of shale gas in our country will help ensure that the UK becomes increasingly self-reliant on its future energy needs, he said.
“Shale will also provide an essential transition to a lower carbon economy where many energy sources, including renewables and nuclear, will play their part.The CIA boss went on to underline the importance of access to domestic shale gas to future investment and jobs in energy-intensive industries such as chemicals manufacture.“
I hope and believe the decision taken in North Yorkshire will signal the start of an energy revolution that not only benefits the country's chemical industry but all of us as UK citizens," he concluded.
On 23 May, North Yorkshire County Council's planning committee approved an application by Third Energy to frack for shale gas near the village of Kirby Misperton – making it the first company allowed to frack in the UK since 2011.The North Yorkshire site already has existing conventional drilling for gas on it. The application had caused controversy in the county, amid concerns it could contaminate the local water supply and harm the region's tourism industry.
"This has been a very difficult decision for the council to make and we know it is a difficult decision for the people of this county," said Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire's chief executive.
"We are proud of our beautiful county which attracts so many visitors and maintains a thriving tourism industry. We have no intention of jeopardising those qualities and our rural industries and livelihoods.
Third Energy chief executive Rasik Valand, said: “We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment.
Valand, however, indicated that there would not be any activities on the site in the near future, as Third Energy requires further approvals from UK planning and environmental authorities.